The Gay Wrestler: When Coming out of the Closet isn’t Really Coming out of the Closet

What does it truly mean for a celebrity to “Come out of the closet” in the year 2013? I mean are they doing it for the general public or are they doing it for themselves? I pose this question on the day that WWE star Darren Young tells a conniving TMZ journalist with an Irish accent that he is indeed a homosexual while at the baggage claim of an airport. Wait hold on, let me backtrack a little. Maybe the first thing I should have said is that before today I had no idea who Darren Young was. Now I’ll know him as “the gay wrestler.” In a very similar fashion before Orlando Cruz came out of the closet I had no idea who he was but now I know him as “the gay boxer.” The latter is probably more noteworthy because I am an avid boxing fan but I will use the former to illustrate my point.

In his coming out video Darren Young answered the question of did he think a gay wrestler could be successful in the WWE to which Young replied; “Absolutely look at me…I’m a WWE superstar and to be honest with you I’m gay and I’m happy.” Then the interviewer goes into this routine where he acts like he’s shocked. If anything he’s “flabbergasted”, as he said, because Mr. Young actually told him his personal business. It wasn’t because he didn’t already know that Young was gay before he met him at the airport to ask him that question. Are we to believe that TMZ always asks male professional athletes about their sexual preferences or did the gossip site have a little inside information?

At any rate I wanted to discuss the idea of happiness as it relates to gay celebrities. Darren Young stated that he was happy and to his credit he does look very happy in the interview. With that being said it’s hard for me to believe that he is somehow happier now that he’s admitted to some dude who works for TMZ that he’s gay. I think it’s important that any one who is gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning to tell their family and friends about what they are experiencing and who they really are on the inside. In essence I do understand the need for a gay person to come out of the closet, however, in the case of many celebrities it’s not a matter of them being in the closet at all, it’s just a matter of whether or not they want to tell millions of strangers what they prefer in the bedroom.

I’m sure Darren Young has done whatever he wants sexually with whom ever he wants for a very long time so why should that impact his professional life in any way shape or form? I honestly think that his life will be a lot worse now. What I mean by that is before some guy from TMZ put him on the spot after waiting for him in the baggage claim of an airport and asked him a question that he already knew the answer to he was able to create his own public image, now he will be dubbed “the gay wrestler” for all eternity.

I can see how the interview will benefit TMZ, I can see how it will help launch the career of the mystery man behind the camera, but I don’t see how this will make Darren Young’s life any better.

 

So what do you think? Drop a few lines below.

-YB

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You Need to go to this Event on MAY18th!

Soulful III Profile

 

 

 

A Night of literary Performances

“SOULFUL III: Revolutionary Dreams” is almost here!

Be ready for six of your favorite poets and writers to light up the microphone on Malcolm X day, 2013.


That’s Saturday, May 18th at the Grand Lake Coffee House (440 Grand Ave) in Oakland, CA.

ONLY $5 at the door.

If you don’t believe the insane amount of talent we have lined up then check the lineup:

Raphael Cohen—Raphael Cohen is a writer and performer committed to utilizing the word as a vehicle for social change. In 2007, he released Scrutinizing Lines, his first full-length poetry collection. Originally from New York, Raphael has lived in Oakland since 2001. He holds a MFA in poetry from Mills College, and currently teaches writing at The Bay School of San Francisco.

Joy Elan—Joy Elan is from Oakland and Berkeley, CA. She received her undergraduate degree in African American Studies at UC Berkeley and her graduate degree in Education at Stanford University. She wrote Signs of Life: Past, Present, and Future and performs spoken word in the Bay Area. She is working on a new book, Silence Is Not Always Golden: A Poetic Revolution, which is scheduled to be released Summer 2013. She is currently working with urban youth and raising her daughter in Oakland.Joy Elan’s Websites: http://www.joyelan.webs.com and http://www.facebook.com/authorjoyelan

Kwan Booth—Kwan Booth is an award winning writer and strategist focusing on the intersection of communications, community, art and technology. He is the cofounder of Oaklandlocal.com and the Black Futurist Project, editor of “Black Futurists Speak: An Anthology of New Black Writing” and “Soul of Oakland: A People’s Guide to The Town.” He has been published in CHORUS, the literary mixtape” and “Beyond the Frontier: African American Poets for the 21st Century,” He writes at http://boothism.org/

MADlines—MADlines was born & raised in Seattle. She came up in the 206’s vibrant music and spoken word scenes. As one half of the dynamic two-lady rap duo, Canary Sing, MADlines rocked hundreds of stages and opened for the likes of Binary Star, Macklemore and Mystic. Since moving to Oakland three years ago, she’s released a solo Mixtape & attained a Master’s in Fine Arts degree from Mills College. She’s currently working on a Reggae/Hip-hop fushion E.P. called LOVE CHILD–to be released in the summer! Follow her on twitter @MAD_lines for updates! ~MADlove~

Scott Duncan- Scott Russell Duncan, frankly, is a lingerer and a lurker. He’s seen a president eat enchiladas, escaped being held hostage by nuns, fled Mills College with an MFA, and makes his lair in Oakland. Scott’s ancestors are Californio, Hispano, and Texian, so he’s half white guy and Mexican. His novel in progress is The Ramona Diary of SRD, a memoir and fictional travel diary about California.

Aries Jordan—Aries Jordan has been writing poetry since elementary school but it wasn’t until 2010 that she began to share it with the world. In 2011 she released a collection of poems entitled ” Journey to womanhood: A poetic Rite of Passage” through Black Bird Press. Her poetry has been featured in the “Pan African Journal of Poetry” 2011, “PACT Family Newsletter” 2012, and “Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin and Marrissa Alexander.” Her writing has also been featured in The Oakland Post.

Please support our independent artists and buy their books at SOULFUL III.

The event will be hosted by Roger Porter.

It’s definitely going to go down so get ready!

SOULFUL II: Telling OUR own Stories OUR own Way

If you are anywhere near the San Francisco Bay Area then you must attend this event.

 

A night dedicated to the healing power of storytelling

Ladies and Gentlemen:
Please join us for “SOULFUL II: Telling OUR own Stories OUR own Way” on Saturday December 15, 2012 at Café Rande Vu in Oakland (2430 Broadway) at 8:00pm. Soulful is completely dedicated to the healing power of storytelling and on 12/15/12 we will be raising money to cover the medical expenses of Kim Glanville who on October 27th was shot 5 times in a tragic case of mistaken identity. Kim will be telling “Her own story her o

wn way” on the 15th and in addition to that, we offer some of the hottest writers in Northern California. Check out the lineup.

Rami Margron
Rami Margron is an actor and dancer. She has worked with many Bay Area theater companies, performing plays of all types from Shakespeare to experimental. She is a company member of Crowded Fire Theater and Rara Tou Limen Haitian dance company. She also hosts a monthly storytelling event called The SHOUT.

Sean King
Sean King is a husband, a father, a writer, a published author, a spoken word artist, a computer geek, a community activist, a dreamer, and someone who loves life. He’s been fortunate to meet countless numbers of diverse people from all over the world and all walks of life, he’s performed on stages and in different venues across the country, and self published three books of poetry (Through My Eyes I, Through My Eyes II, and Hypnogysms) while simultaneously studying Computer Engineering. He is the mentor to numerous youth in the Northern California area and pledged Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., the greatest fraternity in the world.

Luisa Leija
Luisa Leija’s work arrives in the form of dances, prayers, and invocations of a universal spirit. Her words are smoke signals, calling us to recognize ourselves within the world we inhabit; a world that equally inhabits us. Drawing from the indigenous traditions of the Americas, native culture, and Mexican culture, Luisa unifies themes of community, family, history, and ceremony into a seamless journey through the mystery of human existence. A multi-genre writer, Luisa’s talents are as diverse and plentiful as her words. A search for transformation, for truth, for connection, is ever-present throughout Luisa’s work, an endeavor that is both timely and inspiring for our present world.

Sayre Quevedo
Sayre Quevedo lives in Oakland, California. He works as a reporter and producer for Youth Radio and has had worked featured on National Public Radio, Marketplace, National Geographic, Huffington Post and in the San Francisco Chronicle. He has been a featured poet at the Bitchez Brew and Lyrics and Dirges reading series’.

Vanessa Jezebel Delilah X
Feminist Afrocentric Black Queer Femme Lesbian Artist Writer Performer Curious Dreamer Fighter Champion Love-Warrior Activist Faerie Princess Mermaid Gangsta Revolutionary: Jezebel Delilah X, is a performance artist, writer, filmmaker, and teacher. She is co-host of East Bay Open Mic, Culture Fuck, a member of the story telling performance troupe, Griot Noir, and one of the founding members of Deviant Type Press. She uses a combination of performative memoir, theatrical poetry, and feminist storytelling to advance her politix of radical love, socioeconomic justice, anti-racism, and community empowerment.

Zarina Zabrisky
Zarina Zabrisky moved to San Francisco from Moscow to escape the aftermath of a collapsing communist empire. Her work has appeared in Eleven Eleven Journal, Bluestem Magazine and other publications in the US, UK, Canada and Nepal. Her debut short story collection “Iron” explores the nature of oppression, revolt and survival.

Kim Glanville
Kim was born in the Bronx New York 1982; 2 years after her mother came from Kingston, Jamaica. She comes from a line of Strong women that are no nonsense, independent and hard working. Her passions and commitments to community transformation through social movement and accountability have been the driving force in her personal and professional development. Her healing mechanisms are purging with the power of the pen and dancing to Soulful House. She is currently a grad student at the USF School of Education Human Rights program. On October 27th she was murdered into excellence by surviving attempted murder without fear, and thus owned her freedom to live.

Hosted by Roger Porter

PS Suggested minimum donation of $4 to the Kim Glanville fund or suggested purchase of Iron by Zarina Zabrisky….no one will be turned away. See you on the 15th of December.

This event will be Simply Beautiful and oh so SOULFUL
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOxFl4dna3o)

Telling OUR own Stories OUR own Way

I’m tired of being a ventriloquist dummy in the movies. We do have our own voices you know? We do have beating hearts and amorphous souls. We exist in every dimension. We exist at great distances and we exist in focus. We do not want to rape your virtuous young maidens (Birth of a Nation, 1915). We are not your ride or die servants (Gone With the Wind, 1939). We are not your wise yet shockingly docile sidekicks (Casablanca, 1942). We are not here to prostitute the innocence of your daughters (The Mack, 1973) and kill your hardworking, blue-collar, tough, rugged, but loveable fathers (Colors, 1988). Nor do we want you to make us feel good (Monster’s Ball, 2002).

We are not circus lions who only roar when cracked by the lash but are otherwise harmless creatures (Ali, 2001) and our stories don’t necessarily end happily when we finally achieve your capitalistic wet dreams (Ray, 2004 The Pursuit of Happyness, 2006).

Our stories are told in beauty shops, on front porches, and in barbershops. They’re told at bus stops, in county lines, and in the county jail. They’re told in study groups, at Baptist churches, and in hot kitchens. And our stories are told the best when you aren’t there; therefore, you really don’t know us. What you do know is essentially nothing more than a shadow. Yes this shadow is dark like us but it is not nearly as soulful. It is not nearly as dynamic. It is not complicated nor is it multifaceted. It’s not multidimensional or unique. It isn’t bodaciously shy or passionately indifferent.  See the thing is that when you tell our stories you are guessing and we know that. We also know that when you tell our stories you’re telling them to an audience of your own peers and that we really don’t matter. We know what’s real.

We can tell the difference between your voice and Big Mama’s. We know that our stories come from Arkansas and Tennessee. The Delta here and The Delta back there. Our stories were carried up the river by Pharaohs before they were carried down the river by slaves. Our stories are told with fingers in faces, knuckles slapping against hands, shoulders rolling, and tongues clicking. Our griots spit game to judges and parole officers and for the most part they never make it to Hollywood because they’ve been trapped in the hood.

Granted, sometimes when you tell our stories you get it right but you are still guessing (I suppose that some ventriloquist are better than others). And let me just say that when you do your film on Nina Simone The High Priestess of Soul, I hope that you get it right for your sake. For the time is rapidly approaching when we will be speaking for ourselves and we will leave you to your own guessing games. Yeah, imagine that? Close your eyes and try to guess how our voices sound when you are not around. Imagine a day when we control our own bodies, our own minds, our own shadows, and our own reflection, and all you can do is sit in the back of the room and listen to us speak. I can only smile at the thought of such a revolutionary exchange.

-YB

Very High and So Low

 

 

On Saturday night I felt like an artist but today I just feel broke. The ups and downs of chasing an ever-fleeting dream are very pronounced. I was so high a few days ago. I shared a piece of a story that I have been running away from for five years the other night. The story is fictional but the emotions that the protagonist experiences are completely autobiographical. I had a hard time approaching the stage. No matter how many times I rehearsed those few pages, I still sat in the crowd nervous as hell before I was welcomed to the microphone.

 

I didn’t invite any of my family or friends. I didn’t post anything on social media about the event. I wanted to do it alone. The story is about a man who is dealing with a tragedy but even more tragic for him is that he is asked to speak publicly about what he is dealing with.  He must express his emotions verbally and I was there in that café on Saturday night to do the exact same thing.

 

I was scared. I was the only black man in the room and that’s how I wanted it. I didn’t want anyone else in there that would be able to gage the magnitude of the situation. I wanted every comment afterwards to be a disconnected one. I didn’t want to be felt, I just wanted to be heard.

 

I got caught up in my reading. I got into character and played a little bit with vocal intonation and dramatic pause. I read the piece as if I was coming up with it on the spot. I felt like I was that character, in that place where he was, in front of the people that he knew, and I felt that way because I was. If an artist can catch the Holy Ghost then I did. I never got happy in church but I got happy on the stage in front of all those foreign faces. And when I was done they paid me heavily with applause. They paid me with praise. They asked me if I had a card. I do not but I will order some soon.

 

The performance of a writer is bizarre because all you can do is read to your audience. You can’t tap dance or sing in a falsetto. You can’t show the audience your photography or allow them to marvel at the aesthetic beauty of your painting. All you have are your words.

 

I shared my words and they listened. I got really high. I left and went one way while all those in attendance went another. That’s the way I like it. I was a real literary performer. I was a pure artists, an expert storyteller, a gifted individual, but now it’s Monday. The show is over. The curtains have closed and I am one of a hundred million other people forced to work at a punk-ass job that I hate just to keep the lights on.

 

I was so high and now I’m so low.

-YB